Crossover Day Update from the Capitol
Monday, March 6 was Crossover Day at the Georgia Capitol. Crossover Day is the last day for a bill that wasn’t passed by at least one chamber to do so. Two important caveats to remember:
- Bills that have survived Crossover Day can be amended to include language from bills that did not pass.
- Bills that do not become law this year are viable for passage next year, in the second year of the biennial session.
These caveats mean that we remain vigilant about all pieces of legislation until the last day of the session. Our bill-tracking list at the bottom of this blog has been shortened to include only those bills that survived Crossover Day.
Bills We Oppose
- SB 100, Governor Kemp’s mandatory cash bail bill, was not voted on by the Senate and so is not eligible for passage this year! SB 100 would mandate cash bail for anyone who has had a bench warrant issued for their arrest for failure to appear for any offense, including traffic violations, in the last ten years. We will be monitoring legislative activity in the coming weeks to ensure that the language from this bill is not added to a bill that is eligible for passage. Thanks to all our supporters who called their senators in recent days to express opposition to SB 100!
- The House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 188. Sponsored by Rep. Steven Sainz, HB 188 would mandate life imprisonment, or a term of imprisonment followed by lifetime supervision, for various sex-related offenses. The bill would expand the population of people under carceral control and strip judges of their discretion to make individualized sentencing determinations. HB 188 will be assigned to a Senate committee soon.
Bills We Support
- The House of Representatives passed two important bills on Crossover Day that SCHR supports. Both bills will be assigned to a Senate committee soon.
- HB 462, sponsored by Rep. Mandi Ballinger, raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds. The carve-out for 17-year-olds charged with gang crimes was removed from the bill; however, 17-year-olds will be subject to other provisions permitting the transfer of a child from juvenile court to superior court. As drafted, the bill would take effect in 2025, depending on the availability of state funding.
- HB 126, sponsored by Rep. Tyler Paul Smith and brought forth by the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, improves procedure related to out-of-time motions for new trial and appeals in criminal cases. We will alert our partners when these bills are scheduled for committee hearings.
SCHR Actively* Supports
Fighting Mass Incarceration
- HB 126 – Sponsor: Rep. Tyler Paul Smith – Improves procedure related to out-of-time motions for new trial and appeals in criminal cases – Status: Passed by the House
- HB 462 – Sponsor: Rep. Mandi Ballinger – Raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds except for those charged with gang-related offenses – Status: Passed by the House
Ending State-Sanctioned Violence
- SB 272 – Sponsor: Sen. John Kennedy – Reestablishes the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board, responsible for improving interagency reporting and sharing of data – Status: Passed by the Senate
SCHR Actively* Opposes
Exacerbating State-Sanctioned Violence
- SB 11 – Sponsor: Sen. John Albers – Authorizes the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to work independently or concurrently with other law enforcement with almost no limitation – Status: Passed by the Senate and assigned to House Public Safety
Expanding Mass Incarceration
- SB 12 – Sponsor: Sen. John Albers – Imposes mandatory minimums for subsequent felonies involving abuse of a disabled adult, elder person; increases penalties for possession of a firearm by a person with a felony conviction; expands venue options for gang cases; revises various evidence rules – Status: Passed by the Senate and assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil
- SB 44 – Sponsor: Sen. Bo Hatchett – Imposes mandatory minimums for gang offenses and enhanced penalties for recruitment of minors or people with disabilities – Status: Passed by the Senate and assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil
- HB 188 – Sponsor: Rep. Steven Sainz – Mandates a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of imprisonment followed by probation for life for subsequent “sexual felony” convictions; permits termination of such lifetime probation after 10 years in limited circumstances – Status: Passed by the House
- SB 63 – Sponsor: Sen. Randy Robertson – Mandates cash bail for more than 30 additional offenses – Status: Passed by the Senate and assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil
- SB 159 – Sponsor: Sen. Randy Robertson – Criminalizes bringing a cell phone behind the guard lines of a county or state penal institution – Status: Passed by the Senate and assigned to House Public Safety
- HB 227 – Sponsor: Rep. Rob Leverett – Creates the offense of criminal interference with the function of critical infrastructure – Status: Passed by the House and assigned to Senate Judiciary
- HB 500 – Sponsor: Rep. Deborah Silcox – Creates the offense of arson of a law enforcement vehicle – Status: Passed by the House and assigned to Senate Judiciary
- HB 505 – Sponsor: Rep. Mike Cheokas – Enhances the offense of riot from a misdemeanor to a felony – Status: Passed by the House and assigned to Senate Judiciary
SCHR Opposes & Is Monitoring
- SB 31 – Sponsor: Sen. Brandon Beach – Permits the Attorney General to be reimbursed by a district attorney for expenses associated with prosecutions brought by the AG because the DA failed to prosecute the case – Status: Passed by the Senate
- SB 36 – Sponsor: Sen. Randy Robertson – Increases penalties for pimping and pandering – Status: Passed by the Senate and assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil
- SB 62 – Sponsor: Sen. Carden Summers – Prohibits local governments from adopting a policy prohibiting or discouraging enforcement of any ordinance prohibiting public camping, with an exception for diversion programs; requires the state auditor to review homeless programs in the state – Status: Passed by the Senate and assigned to House Governmental Affairs
- SB 68 – Sponsor: Sen. Rick Williams – Adds dogfighting to the list of predicate offenses for the purposes of RICO – Status: Passed by Senate and assigned to House Judiciary Non-Civil
- HB 383 – Sponsor: Rep. Matt Reeves – Creates new offenses for aggravated assault and aggravated battery upon an emergency health worker or health care worker at a hospital – Status: Passed by the House
- HB 231 – Sponsor: Rep. Joseph Gullett – Creates the Prosecuting Attorneys Oversight Commission – Status: Passed by the House
SCHR Is Monitoring
- SB 155 – Sponsor: Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick – Restructures the offense of harming a law enforcement animal – Status: Passed by the Senate
- HB 147 – Sponsor: Rep. Will Wade – Requires the Professional Standards Commission to create a school safety and anti-gang endorsement for eligible personnel who elect to complete a training program for promoting and preserving safe schools and for identifying and deterring youth gangs; requires schools to conduct annual intruder alert drills – Status: Passed by the House and assigned to Senate Education & Youth
- HB 268 – Sponsor: Rep. John Corbett – Provides for a grant program, pending funding, to support law enforcement agencies in the prevention of motor vehicle theft – Status: Passed by the House and assigned to Senate Public Safety
- HB 364 – Sponsor: Rep. Scott Holcomb – Wrongful Conviction Compensation Act – Status: Passed by the House
*SCHR opposes all legislation that relies on enhancing penalties within and expanding the reach of the criminal legal system. Each session, however, we are forced to prioritize certain bills for our active legislative advocacy. These bills represent those on which our staff are actively engaged with legislators and community stakeholders. Other potentially harmful bills are noted in this updated as “SCHR Opposes & Is Monitoring.”